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I have a LARGE monitor running at high resolution, but my ancestors also had tons of kids, so I need to "zoom out" on my tree to get the overall sense of it.

The problem is, Ancestry's design make the font size unreadable if I use its zoom feature to zoom out enough to see a wide branch in the tree.

How can I see more of the tree and still read the names and dates?

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    Dear anonymous down-voter: if you're going to down-vote, the least you could do is offer a reason. I'm providing a tip here for others who use Ancestry, and I'm answering my own question, which is both allowed and encouraged. Sep 29 '13 at 21:02
  • Yes, but this is overt self-promotion. While, it's not spam, it's definitely frowned upon. Sep 29 '13 at 21:10
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    Luke, I'm not selling anything, I'm sharing a CSS tweak. Both the extension (which I didn't write) and the tweak are free of charge. This tip has no connection with my own web site or any product, so it is most certainly not self-promotion. I'm moving this discussion to Meta. Sep 29 '13 at 21:26
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    I am not one of the downvoters here (I +1-ed both Question and Answer) but I would like to see web and desktop software products pay much more attention to controlling font size. I'm interested in seeing the Meta discussion because a similar one has occurred over at GIS Stack Exchange Meta. I applaud efforts with Stylish but would prefer fonts to be "addressed at source".
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 29 '13 at 23:40
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    Thanks @PolyGeo. I'm with you, I wish Ancestry would take this to heart and offer more OOTB options for the tree view, font size included. The limitations of their default design really become apparent when trying to share discoveries with older family members by crowding around a computer or projecting it on a large TV... there's just not a good balance between readable names and a large enough view to see the tree. Of course, my ancestors apparently loved popping out kids by the dozens, so my trees are ridiculously wide. Sep 30 '13 at 6:04
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If you are using Google Chrome or Firefox, you can install the free Stylish browser extension (which I did not write and have no interest in) and the custom stylesheet I created for Ancestry's web site:

http://userstyles.org/

My custom style is here:

http://userstyles.org/styles/93480/ancestry-com-wider-tree

It replaces the photos with blue or pink boxes, increases the font sizes dramatically, and aligns the text to be easier to read.

This has only been tested with Chrome, but should theoretically work in Firefox as well.

Caveat: some longer names are cut off on the right, a consequence of using a larger font with the same box sizes. I chose a font (Trebuchet MS) that balanced relatively skinny characters with good readability. A few other common fonts like Arial Narrow would allow more letters, but at the expense of readability and general ugliness.

This tweak is not supported by or endorsed by Ancestry.com, and I don't work for them.

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  • Down-voted on the grounds of practicality. The short answer to the question is "you cannot unless you are prepared to hack the site with a personal style sheet". While the extension and custom css you nominate may be useful to some, the majority of Ancestry users will be very unlikely to be able to do this.
    – Fortiter
    Sep 30 '13 at 11:02
  • @Fortiter, that is a valid point, and I understand the downvote -- not everyone is comfortable installing browser extensions (or even knowing what they are). I hope it will be useful at least to the more tech-savvy crowd, but I do wish I had a solution (for myself and anyone else) that didn't require such machinations (preferably one supported by the site). Sep 30 '13 at 22:53

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